While Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the latest airstrikes conducted against ISIS terrorists as ‘sweet revenge’ for last week’s Paris attacks, a Syrian Observatory report suggests that Russia has killed more civilians than terrorists in Syria.
A the Inquisitr reported on Friday, Russian defense authorities claimed to have killed an estimated 600 ISIS terrorists during airstrikes launched last week from its Caspian Sea warships, but Western countries, including the United States, had expressed fear that Russia was merely using Paris as an excuse to bombard more moderate rebel groups fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
And now those fears appear to have been well-founded in light of the revealing report released by the Syrian Observatory on Friday, which suggests that not only has Russia manipulated the Western anti-ISIS sentiment to its own advantage, but that Russian airstrikes have eliminated more Syrian civilians than terrorists in the last two months alone.
According to the Syrian Observatory, an international human rights group formed in the wake of the Syrian Civil War, the Russian airstrike on Friday targeted several farms, “villages, towns and cities in 13 provinces,” instead of any ISIS strongholds in the region.
Defense authorities in Russia began pounding Syrian rebels when the country launched its first airstrike in September. However, the Syrian Observatory report has now quashed the figures provided by the Russian military, instead pointing out that “airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force have killed 403 civilians, including 97 children and 69 women, and 381 fighters from Jabhat al- Nusra, ISIS, the rebel and Islamist factions.”
The report stands in complete contrast to the figures provided by Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu, who said on Friday that Russia had intensified its operations in Syria and had managed to eliminate 600 ISIS terrorists as a result of a cruise missile strike targeting Syria’s Deir ez-Zour province.
Shoigu had further claimed that Russia had intensified its airstrikes in response to the Paris attacks that took place on November 13, which had left 129 people dead and more than 300 people wounded in its wake.
After the announcement by Shoigu, Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, had conceded that Russia might have increased the intensity of its airstrikes, but had reiterated that the majority of those had been against “moderate Syrian opposition forces, which is clearly concerning, as those strikes are in support of the Syrian regime.”
Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has been a longtime supporter of Bashar al-Assad, while the United States has been keen to see the Syrian dictator deposed.
In light of the recent airstrikes, Putin had said his country’s operations in the region will have to be further intensified, since it was “not enough to cleanse Syria of rebels and terrorists and to protect Russians from possible terrorist attacks.”
In a video released by the Russian defense authorities on Friday, soldiers could be seen writing messages on the bombs before loading them onto the aircraft – phrases like: “This is revenge for our dead” and “This is for Paris.”
But now with the report released by the Syrian Observatory, Western fears that Russia is manipulating the anti-ISIS sentiment to its advantage could be spot on.
[Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images]